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SC 1311 - Introductory Sociology: Wikipedia

Strengths of Wikipedia

  • Wikipedia is freely accessible, providing information on millions of topics to anyone with Internet capabilities.
  • Wikipedia is constantly updated by the hour. In comparison, subscription encyclopedias might only be updated annually or less frequently.
  • Wikipedia might be a starting point, providing background information on your topic and possible keywords to help you conduct more in-depth research through library databases and other sources.
  • The sources cited can provide more pathways for further investigation into your topic.

This page is adapted from "Wikipedia: Strengths and Weaknesses." 24 July 2013. pitt.libguides, University of Pittsburgh. Web. 6 Nov. 2013.

Weaknesses of Wikipedia

  • Anyone can create, edit, or delete Wikipedia articles.
  • Articles are works-in-progress, meaning changes are constantly occuring to the information. When an article is first published, the information might waver back and forth between viewpoints before achieving a neutral tone.
  • Sometimes articles are vandalized, whether for fun, as a hoax, or because the subject is controversial.
  • The intended audience can vary-- some articles are written from a insider's view, with highly technical language, while some are written for a more general audience.

Wikipedia Mistakes

25 Biggest Blunders in Wikipedia History - Wikipedia has sometimes falsely reported the deaths of famous people (including Miley Cyrus). There have also been cases of libel or hoaxes.